Lesson 9 -- fourth quarter 2002
October 27, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
God is sovereign!
I have never seen Billy Graham or a US President in person. However, I do have the faintest of memories of shaking hands with Luis Palau almost three decades ago; that was special. And some years back I got near enough to the president of Mexico to see the whites of his eyes; that too was thrilling. I imagine most people experience a certain thrill and sense of specialness when they see or actually meet someone extra important. Authority, fame, position, and power impress us.
Have you recently been thrilled by the power and glory of God? Whenever you see a gorgeous sunset or hear the crash of thunder, whenever you hear the wind howling or see the earth slowly eclipsing the moon, whenever you see a new little plant pushing up through the soil or hear the annoying screech of that pesky bird, remember God. "His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise" (Habakkuk 3:3).
When was the last time God's authority and position awed you? You can see them in the receding tide, for He has set the limit beyond which it cannot go. You can see them in the flying airplane and in the falling leaf, because He established and oversees the laws of aerodynamics and gravity. You can see them in both the peaceful and violent transfers of political power, for He sets up and takes down whom He will. When you see His works revealing His authority, remember God!
Decide to rejoice
"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free...." I like that song very much. But shouldn't there be a song or two that declares our decision to rejoice and sing because we have reason to be unhappy? Yes! In fact, it seems I have heard Habakkuk's declaration sung. Remember that this prophet lived in an agrarian society where personal crop and herd production were far more critical than they are to most of us today. Yet he affirmed his commitment to rejoice in Jehovah even when all the crops and herds were wiped out.
Listen also to the affirmation of a man who surely had reason to say something vastly different: "The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21). Had Job done differently, he would have sinned, charging God foolishly (Job 1:22). That ought to put a damper on our complaining spirits!
The Lord inspired the Apostle Paul to take this truth beyond an affirmation. From him we received the divine command to continue rejoicing, finding cause for gratitude in every situation.
"Rejoice evermore. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16,18).
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
Without question, rejoicing is a function of our mind and will, not just of our emotions. Even if our feelings dictate otherwise, we must still decide to choose a response of rejoicing and thanks giving. May we remember that the next time we decide to be grumpy or the next time sadness and discouragement assault us.
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